Press Release
January 31, 2022

Senate passes bill declaring San Jose, Batangas as "Egg Basket," Catanduanes as Abaca Capital of the Philippines

With a vote of 23-0-0, the Senate on Monday, January 31, 2022, passed on third and final reading bills seeking the declaration of San Jose, Batangas as the "Egg Basket" and Catanduanes province as the Abaca Capital of the Philippines.

Sen. Cynthia Villar, chairperson of the Committee on Agriculture, Food and Agrarian Reform and author of Senate Bill No. (SBN) 2044 or the Egg Basket Act, said the declaration is a recognition of the town's achievements and industriousness of its people.

"Starting as a backyard industry in the 60s, San Jose, Batangas took the lead and turned it into one of the most successful, if not the most successful, industry with the farmers evolving into agri-entrepreneurs and who continuously help innovate the agricultural practices in the small town," Villar said.

Villar noted that San Jose, a first-class municipality, has the highest egg production of at least 70,000 tons of eggs a year. In 2019, the municipality contributed 12 percent to the country's egg basket. The per capita egg consumption in the country, as of 2020, is approximately 13.74 kilograms or 229 pieces a year. Eggs topped the most consumed protein-rich food in the Philippines.

In sponsoring and authoring SBN 1978, Villar said she wishes "to celebrate the hard work and perseverance of our abaca farmers in Catanduanes, which is one of our poorest provinces, who, despite experiencing the strongest typhoons on a yearly basis, remained strong and continue to persevere."

"To recognize the hardship and effort of our abaca farmers from Catanduanes and for them to serve as inspiration to more farmers in the country, I call on my esteemed colleagues to support this measure," Villar said.

Villar said the Philippines has long been known as the leading producer of abaca, considered as one of the strongest natural fibers of the world and touted to be the "future fiber" by the United Nations.

The Philippines dominates the global abaca trade as the country supplies about 87.5 percent of the world's abaca fiber requirement, with Ecuador and Costa Rica, sharing the remaining 12.5 percent as of 2016. The Catanduanes Province leads with the highest production in the country--with 31.72 percent contribution to the country's production in 2020; 33.74 percent in 2019; and 33.37 percent in 2018. Catanduanes accounts for more than 80 percent of the Bicol region's production with at least 21,500 hectares of land dedicated to abaca planting.

SBN 1978 was co-authored and co-sponsored by Majority Leader Juan Miguel "Migz" F. Zubiri and Sen. Nancy Binay. SBN 2044 was co-authored by Sens. Nancy Binay, Grace Poe, and Joel Villanueva and co-sponsored by Senate President Vicente Sotto III and Senate President Pro Tempore Ralph Recto.

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